A year and a half ago, the American Red Cross closed its office in West Bradenton and consolidated its Manatee County location in Lakewood Ranch. This month, the Red Cross closed the Lakewood Ranch office.
Megarie van Sickel, executive director of the American Red Cross of Southwest Florida, confirmed Wednesday that the Lakewood Ranch office has been closed and that the property will be sold. Operations for the five-county American Red Cross of Southwest Florida have been consolidated at 2001 Cantu Court, Sarasota.
The Red Cross opened the Lakewood Ranch office in 2006 at 10311 Malachite Drive E., near Lakewood Ranch High School.
The American Red Cross’s national real estate and asset management group will be responsible for listing and selling the property, van Sickle said.
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“We are trying to downsize our physical footprint across the country,” she said, citing the internet and other new types of communications. “We don’t need as many physical plants as in the past.”
Manatee County will be served from the Red Cross’s 35,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota, she said.
“This will not affect our service delivery in Manatee County at all,” van Sickle said.
Among groups meeting at the Lakewood Ranch Red Cross office are Braden River Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12055 and a ham radio group. In the past, the Lakewood Ranch Community Emergency Response Team has also met at the office.
Those groups have been alerted that the Lakewood Ranch office has closed and offered space in the Cantu Court location in Sarasota, van Sickle said.
Members of the Braden River VFW reported that the Lakewood Ranch Red Cross office was closing during the January Manatee County Veterans Council meeting.
VFW post members have been looking for another meeting location, including space in Parrish.
Groups that meet at the Malachite Drive location and health and safety classes planned there will be able to use the Lakewood Ranch space into March, van Sickle said.